Julie Cooper – 2015 Parliamentary Question to the Department of Health

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Julie Cooper on 2015-11-26.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what plans he has to extend the hours of social workers and other professionals required to support doctors in their new working arrangements to meet the Government’s aspiration for a seven day a week NHS.

Alistair Burt

Local authorities are already working with their local health service partners towards ensuring appropriate 7 day 24 hour social work cover. Out of hours social services and emergency duty services are already in place and some local authorities are employing social workers along with occupational therapists to work at weekends to manage safe hospital discharge and other requirements such as equipment provision, to ensure people have appropriate and timely support to leave hospital.

We recognise that providing high quality urgent and emergency services seven days a week requires far more than just doctors to be present, and that nurses, diagnostic staff, and other allied health professionals all play an invaluable role in caring for patients. It will be for local providers and their Local Education and Training Boards to develop workforce plans for delivering seven day services in hospitals which will make the best use of staff skills and expertise. While there may be additional staff needed, we are working with NHS England to make sure we have the workforce we need, including looking at new working patterns and roles such as physician associates.